Yes, Senator Rehman Malik, you deserved to be booted off that plane!

Published: September 16, 2014

The people of Pakistan are hopefully finding the voice they ought to have found long ago. PHOTO: FILE

There are times when something you dream of actually happens, like Senator Rehman Malik getting booted off that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight.

Had anyone else been booted off this way it might not have had the same impact, but with Rehman Malik… it’s like being presented with a large, a very large, box of chocolates, a complete set of Harry Potter books (which are amazingly yet to be read), and a tonne of ice cream all at one go! Oh joy!

My salams to the gentleman who took that stand. May you live long in a genuinely better Pakistan, with my prayers for your health and safety, should Mr Malik ever regain power. Yet I don’t support him all the way.

Having gotten that off my chest, let’s examine the viral video and what caused it: a Karachi-to-Islamabad PIA flight had been waiting for two and a half hours on the tarmac at Jinnah International Airport. The reason, although not yet confirmed, was that it was waiting for some ‘VIPs’ to arrive, and when they did arrive they turned out to be Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Rehman Malik and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani.

As they arrived at the door of the plane, passengers barred their way accusing the VIPs of delaying their flight and making 250 passengers wait. Crew members joined angry passengers in booing the politicians, forcing them to retreat amidst humiliating slogans. It’s all there on two videos which have since gone viral. The one with Mr Malik will probably be viewed in lieu of Prozac for days to come.

Passengers can be heard shouting on the video clip,

“We have taken it for too long… 68 years… are we going to take it for another 68 years?”

“Malik sahab, sorry. You should go back. You should apologise to these passengers. You should be ashamed of yourself… 250 passengers have suffered because of you. It is your fault, sir.”

This wave of euphoria, which spilt over everyone when they saw that video, speaks of pent up resentment, anger, disdain, frustration, and a thirst for justice. In my own case, I couldn’t have cared less if Mr Malik was responsible for this particular flight delay, or not. I was happy to see him turn tail in the face of those vociferous voices, to see him retreat to a safe distance before turning to protest feebly and to see him thrown off, for whatever reason.

I saw the whole thing, in short, through a red mist. I was a one woman mob. And that is the scary bit.

Former interior minister and others like him had it coming. There’s little doubt of that. There’s also little doubt that our cricketing hero has managed to bring the matter of abuse of power to the forefront turning a sore point into (almost) grounds for war. But when has war ever been rational? I have no idea what sort of a man Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani is. Did he deserve the same treatment? If indeed the flight was held up because of some VIPs, was it not PIA’s responsibility to refuse to wait for them? How was the gentleman taking this video able to override the crew completely? PIA was quite obviously helpless on every front. Think of the undiscerning blame, hatred, accusations, disregard for what is right and just, and most of all the mass hysteria that drives people into violence and even genocide. Mobs and masses do not make for long term change and good outcomes, nor do slogans and tsunamis. It takes education and debate.

It also takes awareness and that is what this appears to be.  The people of Pakistan are finding the voice they ought to have found long ago. But they need to be careful, aware that a game is never won by means of bouncers. It takes skilful footwork, accurate bowling, well placed strokes, canny field placement, keen fielding, a strong captaincy and a devoted and disciplined team to win matches and series. Mobs feed on emotion not sense. They don’t discern between innocent and culpable. People die in great numbers when a mob and its emotions hold the field.

“Malik sahab, you are not a minister any more. And even if you are, we don’t care… anymore.”

That’s a good line, particularly when the minister in question asked for such sentiments. We should not care who it is, all persons who do a job, any job, must be accountable. But we have a tendency towards licking the boots of people in power. That is what has brought us to this point.

It is well to remember that there will always be those who disagree with what is done by any given government. If the masses taste blood once, they will take matters into their own hands repeatedly.

What happens then?

Rabia.Ahmed

Rabia Ahmed

The author is a freelance writer and translator.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Kashif

    Not just him only but this should be done to all the VIPs let them know who they are and what they deserve.. there should be equal system for everyone no matter one is bureaucrat or a politicianRecommend

  • usman

    the first blog with many to follow on this topicRecommend

  • KHI mirchi

    “Malik sahab, sorry. You should go back. You should apologise to these passengers. You should be ashamed of yourself… 250 passengers have suffered because of you. It is your fault, sir.”
    …SIR ???????!!!!!!!
    Seriously ??? I wish I were on that plane .Recommend

  • abubakar

    Thank GodRecommend

  • Queen

    When people become aware of their rights then they do not allow ANYONE to snatch away their rights and freedom from them. It is a good sign that finally we Pakistanis are waking up from the slumber which were forced into by a certain group of feudals and dictators.Recommend

  • Jehangir Tamachi wala

    PPP party? Sindh senator? He deserves the Talpur justice, for people like him :
    This is what the Talpur Amirs did to anyone who cheated them, even the slightest.
    First shave off the beard/moustache, paint the man black, then have him hung
    by the heels. With weights tied to his wrists. For one day. Afterwards, he was
    whipped, Hard. Then made to repeat penance one thousand times!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Thank you…..Imran Khan.Recommend

  • Tariq Nawaz

    He deserved this !!! We have had enough of these corrupt to the core politicians.They have literally destroyed the Country.Recommend

  • Concerned_Rehman_Fan

    I request my Pakistani brothers and sisters to please provide security to Rehman Malik.He is loved in both countries.~From India.Recommend

  • Malveros

    the author. Does she even know why the plane was delayed ? It was purely due to technical reasons and Rehman Malik and the PML(N) Minorities minister were sitting in the lounge waiting for it to be fixed. Shame on Naya Pakistan.Recommend

  • Amused

    Damning with faint praise?!Recommend

  • Vish

    Hope the reaction of passengers would be the same if it was an army man (a really powerful man) rather then an ex-politico and an unknown PML(N) MNA.Recommend

  • Bless you PTI

    That was quick Madame. Imagine what has one this incident has done to Peoples self confidence and esteem!!.Recommend

  • Fighter Man

    I think you were drunk while writingRecommend

  • Faria Shah

    This is Naya Pakistan.. fight for our rights.. we must..Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    People like Rehman Malik deserve to be booted out of the country.Recommend

  • WB

    Here is a $100 million question to all Pakistanis.

    You are on a plane which is delayed.

    An hour later who shows up? Pakistan COAS General Raheel Shareef.

    I bet you, does anyone in 180 million has any guts to even question him, let alone throwing him out?Recommend

  • Syed Ali

    Thanks Imran KhanRecommend

  • Ali

    Speaking up and fighting for your rights is good but it becomes difficult when someone stands up to you and demands his rights! We are all VIPs in our own capacities vis-a-vis our subordinates! If this trend continues then we should all be prepared to give rights to people working for us!Recommend

  • amoghavarshaii

    I see that there was already delay of about 1.5 or 2hrs in the flight, as informed by another politician who himself was waiting and rehman came about 30min further late.

    Where is the proof that it was NOT actually delay by PIA itself and not due to rehman???

    what about rehman saying delay of flight by 30min for his next flight? what is the reason

    If you do not find out these, blindly blaming the well known punching bag, politicians , is stupidity too.Recommend

  • Sane

    Whenever flight are delayed due to waiting on-board a VIP (so called) always becomes a ‘technical fault’. People are waking up now. Soon you will see such kind of event when roads are blocked due to a VIP (so called) movement. This may also trigger a mass movement for throwing ‘rulers’ (rather kings) out of this country.Recommend

  • Sane

    Whenever flight are delayed due to waiting on-board a VIP (so called) always becomes a ‘technical fault’. People are waking up now. Soon you will see such kind of event when roads are blocked due to a VIP (so called) movement. This may also trigger a mass movement for throwing ‘rulers’ (rather kings) out of this country.Recommend

  • Response

    sir, if you read the blog carefully you will notice that this uncertainty is acknowledged.Recommend

  • Sane

    Even if a Brig. boards in, All tigers shall become lamb. Ha….Ha…..Ha. Bleat….Bleat and Bleat……Recommend

  • Parvez

    Hypothetical question deserves a hypothetical reply : Let it happen and then we will know.Recommend

  • Salma Aziz

    Why should we people suffer..?? We pay sooo much taxes…why dont these soo called looters and corrupts buy their own planes..m sure they can easily afford one.
    We really have taken it long..we shouldn’t take any longer.. Way to go Common people power!!
    Btw out of 250 passengers only malik saheb got sms from PIA for the delay?? Technical issue?? Really…? Dear PIA when a sooo called Vip was to board u..shouldnt u have got another plane rather making the Vip wait too…ROFL….Recommend

  • Amir

    The sad part but not if you are a Pakistani, was the fact that Dr. Kumar kept lyinng to the mass public by nnot revealing who he was? Now this is the type of leaders we elect to represent us. Unfortuntely, this will happen again. But next time, politicians who have miniscule sense of justice, will come on time, but majority will treat PIA as their personal transporter.
    I recall back in 2007, Emirates flight was delayed becuase of karachi local party leaders came in 25 min after scheduled departure time, moved a passanger from his assigned seat, and the two gentlemen sat. His flunkies carrying bags placed these in the overhead compartment. And left.
    The captain applogised for delay, siting lateness of some passengers.
    And I missed the connecting flight.
    But what made my day was that when these two leaders disembarked at Dubai, they were towing and carrying their own bags :)Recommend

  • omar

    Hahaha.. I hope(and see) that you are being sarcastic :PRecommend

  • Nb

    Did you read about the red mist ? Everyone seems to have missed the point of the blog (esp. the last three paragraphs)
    Author,I agree with your point about mass hysteria,its unintelligence & the blood shed that comes from it.
    Individuals are intelligent ; People/mobs are unintelligent.Recommend

  • anis

    i guess he travels in C130 or some military heliRecommend

  • Faulitics

    I doubt if he travels on commercial planes. Thats for the civvies. He probably has his own jet. But good question anyways. I seriously doubt that this same bunch of people would have protested in that scenario.Recommend

  • guest

    Brigadiers and even lieutenant generals keep travelling in domestic commercial airlines as normal and average pakistani citizens so your comparison is completely base lessRecommend

  • SH

    It is surprising how many believe it was a technical fault. So PIA only bothered to inform Rehman Malik of this “technical fault”? Why weren’t the rest of the passengers informed during this delay?Recommend

  • Muse

    No, no one would dare look at him in the eye, let alone talk to him. But what does that have to do with people throwing the corrupt Rehman Malik off board?! We are happy they did this and that’s all. What you’re saying is like a scene in a stage drama where a person proudly shows his house to his dad and tells him how solid and strong its structure is; the dad replies, “Oh, but even this couldn’t hold against a bomb.”Recommend

  • AA

    “It is well to remember that there will always be those who disagree
    with what is done by any given government. If the masses taste blood
    once, they will take matters into their own hands repeatedly.

    What happens then?”

    My answer is “masses will get the respect they deserve” Did ever a general won the war? No his army did, and his army turns on him if he does what they do not like, Alexander turned back from Indus because his army revolted. Any one who is leading the masses should be aware of the masses. That is how “DEMOcracies work, with fear of the people, not with fearful people.Recommend

  • AA

    COAS had been there for 68 years, how many times that happened, with ministers, it is common, however, there is always a first step. Rosa Parks was convicted of violating the segregation laws in America before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional. It takes a drop to risk elimination then rain follows.Recommend

  • AA

    “Where is the proof that it was NOT actually delay by PIA itself and not due to rehman???”

    I think you miss the point, it is not delay that angered people, it is VIP treatment of another person just like them. You are asking a proof when you are gazing at it, 250 passengers were sweating inside the plane, even if he was sitting in the lounge, it was a shameful discriminatory treatment. He should be sweating with other passengers inside the plane or all should have been waiting in the lounge. Isn’t his worth due to those 250 people? He is nothing if people have not voted for him, and voted him for what? to be a prince among them? or he asked to represent masses in better or worse? When our beloved prophet was shown a stone on the stomach by a companion he showed two on his own stomach, isn’t it. Are we Muslim or not?Recommend